In re H.D., 239 N.C. App. 318 (2015)

  • G.S.7B-1111(a)(2) requires the court conduct a two-part analysis and determine by clear, cogent and convincing evidence that both:
    1. The child has been willfully left by the parent in foster care or placement outside the home for over 12 months, and
    2. The parent has not made reasonable progress under the circumstances to correct the conditions which led to the child’s removal.
  • Willfulness does not require fault but instead requires evidence that parent had the ability to show reasonable progress but was unwilling to make the effort.
  • The 12-month time period is not limited to the 12 months immediately preceding the filing of the petition or motion to terminate parental rights.
  • Unchallenged findings of fact “are deemed supported by sufficient evidence and are binding on appeal.” The unchallenged findings that children were in DSS custody for over 3 years, and during that time respondent mother never completed her case plan, was incarcerated on new criminal convictions, required inpatient substance abuse treatment, had a failed trial placement, had her visits with the children terminated, and was evicted were sufficient to support the adjudication of this ground.
Termination of Parental Rights
Willfully Leaving Child in Foster Care or Other Placement
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